Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Agreeing to travel with her parents as frozen cargo aboard the spaceship Godspeed, expecting to arrive on a new planet 300 years later, was the hardest decision seventeen year old Amy ever had to make. Nothing could prepare her for the actual horror of being frozen nor the semi-conscious state she inhabits afterwards. Unfortunately Amy doesn't understand true fear until she is awakened from her sleep fifty years too early to find herself surrounded by people who all look alike, speak differently, and who see her as nothing more than a deranged freak.

Everyone except for Elder that is. Although he is next in line as leader of the spaceship, Elder is the youngest person aboard and has felt always felt different. Tired of half-truths and avoidance by Eldest - the ships current leader and his mentor - Elder spends more and more of his time with the unique girl who came from Earth itself, hoping for answers. But instead of helping, Amy's life and experiences on Earth only create new questions for Elder - ones that could very well destroy everything he ever believed to be true.

I think I first decided to read Beth Revis' sci-fi debut after reading an online excerpt. Across the Universe doesn't just have a killer first line, the entire first chapter is so gripping I was dying to find out what would happen. Like right then. Make no mistake, Amy's account of watching her parents being cyrogenically frozen (and then experiencing it for herself) was riveting. It wasn't pretty or simple and Amy's fear and revulsion are just so palpable. After that initial burst however, I slowly began to lose interest in Elder and Amy's story, with my attention only being caught now and then by some tidbit or scene.

Although the idea of Across the Unvierse is extremely appealing, I wasn't too thrilled with the direction Beth Revis chose to take Amy and Elder. Instead of taking the time to discuss some of the wicked cool technology developments (which, okay, she does - but only a bit and my inner geek-girl was practically drooling for more) or the background on why the space expedition was even happening in the first place, we got pages and pages on the Season (uck) and a murder 'investigation' that seemed more stale than CSI-worthy. Not to mention the 'romance' of Amy and Elder, which never went past the attraction phase in my book. I'll admit, there were several pretty brilliant ah-ha! moments of discovery, but most came in the last 50 pages or so and consequently felt rushed and not as well developed as I would have liked.

Overall, Across the Universe reads a bit like it's cover. Upon first notice, the spectacular star-strewn sky and title are appealing but then the almost-kiss and cover tag line ("What does it take to survive aboard a spaceship fueled by lies?" ::gag::) go and mess things up for me. Which also applies to the story itself. This is a book with a basic fascinating premise: How would humans truly handle a 300 year long journey through space? Beth Revis gives her readers a believable portrayal but one that ended up getting bogged down by other details. So not really a true sci-fi novel (other than it takes place aboard a spaceship), but perhaps YA fans who like mysteries and romance will find this one fulfilling. It just didn't suit me.

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Forever Young Adult review
Frenetic Reader review
Inkcrush review
Janicu's review
Steph Su Reads review
The Story Siren review
yaReads review

book source: my local library


Sandy Nawrot said...

I've had this book since I got it at SIBA, and frankly I forgot I had it. People originally went crazy for it though. Sounds a little lame though, and I'm glad I didn't prioritize it too high.

Chachic said...

Aww too bad this one didn't work for you. I was looking forward to reading it because I've seen some positive reviews and I think it's great that YA is delving into sci-fi but now, I'm not too excited to read it.

Holly said...

Oh I'm sorry this didn't work for you either. I've seen enough negative reviews that I'm not picking it up.

Michelle said...

Sandy - You might enjoy the story, but I wouldn't put it at the top of my list.

Chachic - I was excited too! SO many folks have had good things to say about it. Too bad it wasn't what I hoped.

Holly - You are alive!! Yay! How's the baby? And yes, I really wouldn't bother reading it unless you really had nothing else.